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Profile of a current political prisoner

Tashi Topgyal, 50, was born in Thong Village, Yamo Township, Ngamring County, Shigatse Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (“TAR”). He has three sons and does farming for their livelihood. Tashi learned carpentry when he was young and does carpentry works during free time between every harvest. He worked in construction sites and made wooden household furnitures.

In August 2002, several wall posters calling for Tibet’s independence were found pasted and scattered in the township market. An investigation team comprising of PSB officials from Ngamring County and Shigatse Prefecture carried out thorough investigations and interrogations to find the person responsible for the incident. The PSB team carried out thorough investigations in the neighbouring villages as well as interrogated all the people who were deemed suspicious. However, they could not find out the “culprit”.

Upon further investigations, the PSB team became suspicious of Tashi and subsequently raided his house on 22 October 2002. On ransacking his house, the officials discovered an “Autobiography of the Dalai Lama” as well as “Guidelines for Future Polity of Tibet”. His neighbours houses were also ransacked.

Just a few days after Tashi’s arrest, the PSB arrested Ngodup Dorjee, a bank staff at Ngamring County Bank. The officials also found a Tibetan national flag in his house.

Tashi was detained in Shigatse Prefecture Detention Centre and was tortured brutally during interrogation sessions. The authorities did not inform his family about his whereabouts. His family became anxious when they couldn’t locate him.

In mid 2003, Shigatse Prefecture People’s Intermediate Court sentenced Tashi Topgyal to six years’ imprisonment term on charges of “endangering state security” through anti government propaganda.

In the end of 2003, Tashi was transferred to Drapchi Prison in Lhasa where he continues to be imprisoned. He is expected to be released in 2009.

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